PARIS: World No. 1 Iga Swiatek said on Wednesday that “the sky is the limit” as she looks to extend her 33-match winning streak and reach the French Open final.
The 2020 Roland Garros champion faces Russian Daria Kasatkina in the last four on Thursday, with the winner to face either Coco Gauff or Martina Trevisan — who meet in the second semifinal — in Saturday’s showpiece match.
Polish star Swiatek has climbed from world No. 7 to the top of the rankings on the back of a remarkable unbeaten run which has seen her win five successive tournaments, including four WTA 1,000 titles.
“I kind of felt like the sky’s the limit for me, so I feel more free right now, I feel like I’ve proven myself,” said Swiatek, who turned 21 on Tuesday.
“A lot has changed in my mind and for sure I also realize that I can actually be number one and really cope with it properly. So that’s pretty cool.”
Swiatek will be playing in her third Grand Slam semifinal, after also making that stage at this year’s Australian Open.
Kasatkina won her first clash with Swiatek on the Eastbourne grass last year, but has lost all three of their meetings in 2022 in straight sets, without winning more than five games in a match.
But those defeats all came on hard courts at the Australian Open and in Dubai and Doha.
“We played few times this year, but, okay, I lost those matches, but was a different story,” said Kasatkina. “It was a hard court, beginning of the year, I was not in the same shape as I am now.
“I cannot compare what we are going to have tomorrow and what we had in February, March when we were playing. It’s going to be completely different match...
“She’s good on hard court, she’s good on clay, so it doesn’t matter. But I think for me it’s better to face her on clay.”
Gauff has threatened to break into the highest echelons of the sport since her fairytale run to the Wimbledon last 16 as a 15-year-old three years ago.
Her victory over Sloane Stephens in the previous round was only her second Grand Slam quarterfinal, but now a maiden final is just one win away.
“You don’t want to let other people limit your dreams,” said the 18th seed.
“It’s important that you don’t put yourself into a box. So I always try to tell young kids that, to dream big, and you never know when your moment is going to happen.”
Gauff lost her only previous match against Italian Trevisan in the second round at Roland Garros in 2020.
But the American has made a habit of beating players at the second time of asking in her young career, including earlier this week against Stephens and when she beat Naomi Osaka at the 2020 Australian Open.
“I think it gives me confidence,” said Gauff. “Losing to Sloane at the (2021) US Open and (winning) here, and then losing to Naomi and I lost to Trevisan, so I’m hoping the trend keeps going.”
World number 59 Trevisan enjoyed a dream run to the quarter-finals as a qualifier two years ago and is on a 10-match winning streak after winning her maiden WTA title in Rabat last month.
The men’s semifinals take place Friday with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal, who knocked out world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the last-eight, facing Alexander Zverev.
Marin Cilic, the 20th seeded 2014 US Open champion, plays Casper Ruud, the first Norwegian man ever to get to a Slam semifinal.
Cilic is only the fifth active men’s player after Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray to make the semifinals at all four majors.